Climate change, population growth, urbanization and development in natural hazard-prone regions are exacerbating the effects of extreme weather and other disasters. International organizations, governments, the private sector and financial institutions expend billions of dollars responding to such disasters, but the models they rely on for planning for and responding to such events suffer from significant limitations. Importantly, they generally fail to account for climate change; are not transparent about their methodology; and focus on risks for the insurance industry rather than on the damage that vulnerable communities will sustain.
This Columbia World Project will further develop, test and implement an open-source model to more accurately forecast the risk of hurricanes and tropical cyclones and the damage that they would likely cause for vulnerable communities. It is estimated that $924 billion in insured losses resulted from tropical cyclones in the past decade.
The Columbia researchers will partner with the World Bank in order to broaden the understanding of the real consequences of natural disasters on the poor, breaking new ground in how damage is calculated. The project will also leverage the insurance industry’s experience to improve the responsiveness of risk models to climate change.
The work will begin with a focus on the Philippines, a country that is vulnerable to severe hurricanes and tropical cyclones, but with a broader goal of setting a new standard for the field of openness, scientific rigor and community engagement.
- Suzana Camargo (Columbia Climate School)
- Chia-Ying Lee (Columbia Climate School)
- Kyle Mandli (Fu Foundation School of Engineering)
- Adam Sobel (Fu Foundation School of Engineering)
- Michael Tippett (Fu Foundation School of Engineering)
In Partnership With:
- Swiss Re Foundation
- The World Bank